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consisted of a few small patrol skip*.1 This toy navy would have
been totally inadequate for a country the size of Denmark, let
alone a continent the size of England, France, Germany, Scandi-
navia. Italy, the Balkans, and then some !
Well, what precisely is it suggested that we do about this f Leave
these small ships- to face the next combination of aggressors? JCo? '
Then what ? Leave it to the United Nations ? But surely that is a
matter that demands somewhat lengthy discussion ? If the United
Xations are to shoulder so large a responsibility they will be
entitled to ask what they are going to get out of it, and... which is
more important.. .they will be entitled to demand that Gandhi
does not start any anti-recruiting drives . .which, according to
his life-long professions, he would be bound to do.
Pray do not shelve the question, nor cloud it with a lot of vague
and idealistic talk. A navy does not drop from the clouds. It is a
miraculous and delicate instrument, a creation, of nen'es as well as
steel, united with blood, as well as rivets; it is in some ways the
greatest expression of a nation's genius. Has India the genius to
k create a great navy ? Let us again be generous, and take a deep
breath, and gulp cyes'... whatever may be our misgivings. Even
so, the craziest optimist could hardly suggest that such a navy
could be built, recruited and inspired in a space much under
And in the meantime? Is the British navy to carry on? Unpaid
and unthanked ? Is the British taxpayer to foot the bill ? The
answer, judging from the rantings of some British politicians, is
"yes/ But would it be the same answer if the warm-hearted
British working classes, who are so eager to vote themselves down
the rapids, realized even a shadow of the truth ?
The same argument applies to the Indian army. Nobody would
be so churlish as to deny the bravery which Indian troops have
displayed in the present war, but it would be ludicrous to suggest
that these same troops are capable of undertaking, on their own
the defence of one-fifth of the human race. Apart from the paucity
of trained men, in proportion to the vastness of the territory and
the richness of the interests to be protected, there are, at the time
of writing, only a small handful of Indian officers who have
1 Since the war a few corvettes, mine-sweepers, and sloops have been added.